They are all around us.
Buzzwords and catch phrases.
You know, those words and phrases we use because everyone is using them. In training and development, it could be words like, “andragogy” or phrases like “blended learning.” We can also toss out concepts like “running a Lean organization.”
Here’s the thing though. Using buzzwords and catch phrases can actually hurt your organization if you use them to sound “in the know” versus using them to increase corporate knowledge.
The truth is there are no shortcuts to expertise. Before you start throwing around buzzwords or catchphrases, make sure you are able to “walk the talk.” Here are a few suggestions:
- Watch what you bring back from seminars – We go to seminars and get pumped up. We hear success stories that are sure to work in our context, and we return all fired up and ready to roll out a revolutionary program that is going to change the way we do business. While I am a fan of seminars, I think it is important to note that many presenters who speak at such gatherings achieve expertise over years of study and practice—not during one seminar. Come back from the seminar. Do tons of research. Contemplate costs, energies, long-term goals, etc., and then gradually begin implementing what you are learning over time—not just snippets of what you learned at a two-day conference.
- Wearing a jersey doesn’t make you a football player – You probably know this, but you can buy jerseys that are just like the same jerseys pro football players wear. They come from the same company. Heck, you can even buy a jersey that was worn in an actual game! But just because you can wear a real jersey, doesn’t mean you can play professional football. The same is true of buzzwords and catch phrases. Just because I use them, doesn’t mean I can revolutionize a company with them. Think in terms of a manager who says, “We need to start using Lean terms around here,” but doesn’t know how to construct a simple flowchart. Get what I’m saying?
- Purpose in our process – Everyone seems to be in a hurry today. No matter what they’re doing. Organizations can fall into the same trap! When it comes to developing your people, embracing the false narrative that one or two training events annually should suffice is truly short sighted. Instead, follow the counsel of performance improvement guru Richard Swanson who notes, “Developing expertise is not an event. It is a purposeful journey.”
Walk the talk, my friends. Your organization will be better for it.